Sardinia, a mysterious island forged by the wind, by the sea, and imbued with stunning scents and intense pastel colors, is surrounded by numerous islands, and islets, that adorn it like the silver pearls of a precious and unique necklace.
Let’s get to know them more, one by one: there are large and less known ones or smaller but charming, but all of them preserve changing landscapes and atmospheres that evoke harmony and well-being immersed in still wild and uncontaminated nature.
Asinara: the island that was the Italian Alcatraz
In front of the Punta di Capo Falcone, in the north-western part of Sardinia, the island of Asinara materializes before our eyes, with its 52 square kilometers of surface constitutes one of the largest islands on the Sardinian coast. It owes its name to the white donkey that inhabits it and has become its symbol.
The island, which for decades remained inaccessible due to its prison destination, now houses the headquarters of the Asinara National Park thanks to which its natural environment, the various native wild species, and its splendid coasts are preserved.
The Archipelago that was strategic for Napoleon
On the north-eastern side of Sardinia, with its 180 kilometers of coastline and over 60 islands, you will find the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park.
Due to its strategic position, the famous archipelago attracted important historical figures over time including Napoleon Bonaparte, Admiral Nelson, and Garibaldi, the hero of the two worlds.
Not only history but also charm, suggestions evoke the seven major islands that make up the archipelago and the many islets that rise from the sea all around.
Thus, it is possible to admire the colors and scents that tell these pearl islands with their names that resonate in the wind: La Maddalena, Caprera, Santo Stefano, Spargi, Budelli, Santa Maria, and Razzoli.
An environmental landscape is among the most evocative for fauna, flora, and morphology with various endemic and very rare plant species.
The Pink Beach
The pink color of Budelli beach created by unspoiled nature seems to derive from fragments of calcareous shells of a small organism that adheres to shells and corals that accumulated on the beach have given it this splendid, unique, and fascinating pastel pink color. It evokes the intense and vibrant color of the Pedregal house-studio, now a World Heritage Site, designed by Mexican architect Luis Barragán, in Mexico City.
Who knows if the famous architect was inspired by the charm of the pink beach of Budelli. It is true that in his residential projects, every little detail was designed to generate well-being and relaxation by drawing inspiration from natural elements such as light, air, and stone.
And his main vision harmonized well with such attention to detail, he in fact believed that all architecture that does not express serenity fails in his spiritual mission.
The island of the goats with gold teeth
Our story continues with the Island of Tavolara, an imposing limestone and granite mountain over 500 meters high that rises from the sea over the Gulf of Olbia. Suggestive rocky walls overlooking the sea hide the wild nature of what is called the smallest kingdom in the world.
The magical territory that characterizes it is mostly that of the Mediterranean scrub, including the yellow of the helichrysum, juniper, rosemary, mastic, and wild geranium.
Legend has it that King Carlo Alberto di Savoia came to its shores driven by the search for the mythical goats with gold teeth, a color deriving from the helichrysum on which the goats fed.
The mysterious island
Not far from Tavolara, stands the granite island of Molara where the Mediterranean scrub preserves the medieval remains of a village and a small church.
The atmosphere of this island is full of mysteries, secrets, and legends that resonate in its narrow streets and in the inaccessible rocks that surround it, the stories of exiled popes, pirates, and young lovers echo carried by the wind … and it seems that the bottom of the sea guard the wreck of a ship.
Island of fishermen and shipwrights
In the extreme southwest of Sardinia, there is the largest island of Sulcis: Sant’Antioco. The island is joined to Sardinia by an artificial isthmus of probable Punic and Roman origin.
The island, inhabited since the third millennium BC, has pre-Nuragic evidence, such as the domus de Janas and the menhirs (monolithic megaliths).
Sant’Antioco, a charming fishing village with its colorful houses, originally Sulky, owes its foundation to the Phoenicians, who were followed by the Carthaginians and the Romans.
It is currently inhabited by the Tabarca population, as on the island of San Pietro, in the northern part, named after the Ligurian population who came here from the Tunisian island of Tabarca.
Characteristic is the small port of Sant’Antioco and the Museum of the Sea and the Maestri d’Ascia, on the Cristoforo Colombo waterfront with the fishermen’s boats moored until late in the evening, true historical memory of the maritime soul of the village that emphasizes local excellence of the Masters of Ax, an ancient craft full of charm and tradition: like real artists, for millennia, they have been shaping wood, transforming it into hulls capable of plowing the waters of the seas.
In addition to its historical and cultural heritage, the Island of Sant’Antioco offers beautiful beaches adorned with pale rocks and a Mediterranean scrub characterized by very rare Phoenician junipers, centuries-old dwarf palms, and intoxicating Mediterranean essences. The bays where the coves of Grotta and Della Signora are located are suggestive.
In the extreme southern tip is Capo Sperone with its blue and iridescent sea with the typical expanses of pink peonies and in the background are the islets of Vacca and Toro, protected areas.
Island of San Pietro and Carloforte
The island of San Pietro, of volcanic origin, is one of the two islands of the Sulcis archipelago known since ancient times by the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans.
The western and northern part is characterized by the presence of inlets, caves, cliffs, and natural pools with few and small beaches.
The color of the sea is emerald green, while the color of the cliffs varies from ocher to the white and gray of the basalts and dark red.
The hinterland is embellished by the Mediterranean scrub, and the scents of strawberry tree, rosemary, Aleppo pine, and dwarf palms are released in the air.
The only inhabited center on the island is Carloforte, a village characterized by narrow streets with mostly two-story houses that evoke the colors of the Ligurian villages.
These are just some of the pearls that surround Sardinia, islands, and islets that never cease to inspire and amaze thanks to the light they emanate and the charm that is renewed every day with their colors and their deep mysteries linked to a land that has so much to tell.